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National Geographic Magazine June 2021

The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders. Get a National Geographic digital magazine subscription today and experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edit.

United States
National Geographic Society
$6.63(Incl. tax)
$25.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min
difficult conversations

A YEAR AGO a Black man named George Floyd lost his life under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer. Floyd’s death sparked massive civil rights protests around the world and a painful racial reckoning in the United States that is far from resolved. One hundred years ago a white mob destroyed Greenwood, a prosperous Black district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in a two-day rampage of looting, burning, and shooting that killed as many as 300 people and left some 10,000 homeless. The attack on what’s remembered as Black Wall Street is one of the worst acts of terrorism in U.S. history—and I’m embarrassed to admit that until recently, I’d never heard of it. In many respects, the distance between 1921 and 2021 is enormous. So much about our country has changed,…

1 min
a glass sea menagerie

The detailed models a father and son made in the 19th century as research tools are now in museums.…

1 min
the backstory

FOR STILL LIFE MASTER Guido Mocafico, it’s been a years-long quest: to find and photograph a menagerie of century-old glass sea creatures, scattered among institutions and museums worldwide. The sculptures are the work of Czech glassworkers Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf. From 1863 to 1890 the men crafted nearly 10,000 models of 700 species of octopuses, jellyfish, anemones, and more. Fascination with natural history, particularly the sea, exploded in the mid-19th century—but sea creatures were difficult to obtain and preserve. The Blaschkas’ lifelike models were in demand not only as teaching tools but also as objects of art. Descended from a family of glass artists, Leopold could create tendrils like silk strands and polyps like dewdrops. His specific techniques used with the glass creatures have never been fully replicated. To make the…

7 min
dear fermi: a fan letter

ILLUMINATING THE MYSTERIES—AND WONDERS—ALL AROUND US EVERY DAY IN THE SUMMERS OF MY CHILDHOOD, I spent time in upstate New York at my grandparents’ lakeside home, far from the polluting light of big cities. At night, I would pull a blanket from my bed and drag it down the pine needle–covered path from the house to the boat dock. Stretched out there, I would gaze at the star-filled sky for as long as the grown-ups allowed. I didn’t have words for what I was feeling: the pull of the cosmos, beautiful and awe-inspiring. Fast-forward more than a decade to summer 2002, when I first learned of astronomy in the extreme, energetic and exciting. I was a summer intern at the University of Chicago, an institution known for its physics pioneers. Among them:…

1 min
fermi at work


1 min
a king’s curious colors

Amid the black-tuxedoed throngs of king penguins on South Georgia island, this one’s yellow and beige plumage may look freakish. But animals with missing pigmentation, a condition called leucism, aren’t vanishingly rare: It occurs in one out of every 20,000 gentoo penguins, for example. Though the coloration makes for a stunning photo, standing out could hinder the bird’s ability to find a mate and heighten its risk of being gobbled up by an orca or a leopard seal. PHOTO: YVES ADAMS, KENNEDY NEWS…